What is sexualized violence?

At UVic, we define sexualized violence broadly to include a wide range of behaviours that are unacceptable. This may be different from other institutions, regions, or countries, so we encourage everyone to read and understand UVic’s definition.

Sexualized violence is any non-consensual, unwanted, actual, attempted, or threatened act or behavior that is carried out through sexual means or by targeting a person’s sex, sexual identity, or gender identity or expression.

What forms it takes

Sexualized violence can take many forms and may or may not involve direct physical contact. This means that sexualized violence can occur verbally, physically, or online. Sexualized violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • sexual assault
  • sexual exploitation
  • sexual harassment
  • stalking
  • indecent exposure
  • voyeurism
  • distribution of sexually explicit images without the consent of the people involved

In addition, sexualized violence may also include unwanted sexualized attention received in person or via text, phone, email as well as chat, social media and dating apps, among other mediums. This kind of unwanted sexualized attention may include behaviour that includes:

  • catcalls
  • sexist remarks or jokes
  • transphobic remarks
  • leering
  • persistent and/or aggressive come-ons
  • sending unwanted and unsolicited images or videos

Attitudes and beliefs

Sexualized violence is often rooted in harmful attitudes and beliefs that are sexist, racist, homophobic, ageist, abelist, transphobic, and/or xenophobic. Preventing sexualized violence requires that we address multiple intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression at the same time. We can address all forms of sexualized violence by having conversations with one another that are respectful and grounded in a deep understanding of consent. For more information on how we can collectively address harmful attitudes and beliefs, visit Equity and Human Rights  education and initiatives.


Quick exit